North Pointe Elementary School

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    Siblings of Quarantined Students - VERY IMPORTANT

    We are noticing that many parents are choosing not to send a sibling to school when one of your children are quarantined. This is your choice, of course, and I do understand the caution.

    I want to let everyone know that if you choose to quarantine your non-sick, non-close contact child, they will not necessarily be counted as an excused absence. Please email Jill Brackett, your child's teacher, and our Nurse, Samantha Herring, and we will make determinations on a case by case basis. You may ask why... so I want to explain.

    While we do want to use caution in identifying close contacts and making determinations about students in quarantine, we also have to balance the fact that ALL of our students need to be in school. The fact of the matter is this - More than any year before, a larger percentage of our students are academically behind. The gap is widening. Our teachers have a massive task ahead of them to ensure that each of their students receives the necessary instruction not only to 'catch them up', but to stretch them to their highest potential.

    Do we want to put their health at risk to be sure they are taught well? Absolutely not. You have my word that we will always put their health and safety first. But we also have to consider the fact that we have a massive undertaking for all students who have gaps in their learning since the spring of 2020.

    If you choose to keep siblings of close contacts at home, they will not receive virtual instruction or the same learning structure as our students who are home sick or quarantined. We will provide them with packets and information to keep them caught up, but our teachers cannot provide both in-person learning AND online learning except in the case of a quarantined or covid-positive student.

    You will learn more about why this is so important in the Toolbox Meetings coming up this month. Thank you for understanding. 

    Read the information below from DHEC

    Close Contact

    DHEC defines close contact as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person (laboratory-confirmed or a clinically compatible illness) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes) from 48 hours prior to symptom onset (or specimen collection for an asymptomatic infected person) of the infected person.

    • The close contact definition excludes students who were within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student (laboratory confirmed or a clinically compatible illness) if both the infected student and the exposed student(s) wore masks during the exposure time.
    • If a student was exposed to someone with COVID at school, this student is the only person in the household who needs to be quarantined at this time. If the student who had the positive COVID contact has siblings, the siblings do not need to quarantine unless they are showing symptoms.

    Mask Use

    • DHEC recognizes mask use cannot be mandated per the SC General Assembly but is providing the following guidance for teachers, staff, and parents.
    • DHEC strongly recommends mask use for all people when indoors in school settings, especially when physical distancing is not possible. Children under two years old, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone unable to remove the face covering without assistance should not wear a mask.
    • Based on the needs of the community and the rates of community or school spread and vaccination, school districts may opt to recommend mask use in a school.
    • All people in the school setting should be allowed to wear a mask if they wish, and steps should be taken to ensure students are not bullied or criticized for wearing a mask.
    • A close contact who is ending quarantine early (less than 14 days) and returning to the school environment should wear a mask and follow physical distancing guidelines in order to return to in-person learning, per CDC and DHEC guidelines for ending quarantine early.
    • Districts and schools may elect to implement or forego the option of shortened quarantine depending on their individual capabilities. Individuals should defer to district or school policy when determining their return to the educational environment from quarantine.
    • The most effective fabrics for cloth masks are tightly woven, such as cotton and cotton blends, breathable, and in two or three fabric layers. Masks with exhalation valves or vents, those that use loosely woven fabrics, and those that do not fit properly are not recommended.
    • Schools should provide masks to those students who need or request them, such as students who forget to bring their mask or whose families are unable to afford them.
    • Indoors: Masks are strongly recommended to be worn at all times in school facilities (classroom and non-classroom settings), with exceptions for specific people (children under 2 years old, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone unable to remove the face covering without assistance), or for certain settings or activities, such as while eating or drinking or when alone in an office.
    • Outdoors: In general, people do not need to wear masks when outdoors with the following exception.... - In areas of substantial to high transmission, CDC recommends that people who are not fully vaccinated wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings or during activities that involve sustained close contact with other people who are not fully vaccinated.
    • School buses: Mask use is required on school buses and other public transportation per federal CDC Order regardless of the mask policy at school or the individual’s vaccination status; school systems should take appropriate steps to ensure compliance with this requirement by students, staff, and others.
    • Per the CDC: “CDC’s Mask Order requires the wearing of masks by travelers to prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. The requirement to wear a mask also applies to passengers and drivers on school buses, including on buses operated by public and private school systems, subject to the exclusions and exemptions in CDC’s Order.
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